Links – 2008-10-20

Some quick notes before we jump into these:

1. is still messed up, but I can still see what you send me. Please continue to send links via and I’ll excerpt them here.

2. I’m over at Jezebel this week, cohosting Crappy Hour with Megan. Normally, those posts go up before noon, first one is up now.

At any rate, on to the links.

Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama! I watched the Meet the Press interview and I was pleased. However, we all knew it was only a matter of time before some jackass decided Colin just did it because Obama’s black. Obviously, Alan Keyes, Al Sharpton, Carol Mosely-Braun, and Cynthia McKinney are all benefiting from Colin’s past endorsements. And it is also obvious that blacks never think about our votes – we all just fall in line. *sigh*

I fell behind on reading The Kitchen Table, but I won’t make that mistake again. Dr. Yolanda Pierce wrote a post called “Six Packs and Such,” asking a question I know I’ve had – who exactly is this mythical Joe Sixpack?

To glorify Joe Six Pack as the only genuine American, as the real moral and political core of our country, is to invalidate the experiences of all the other folks in America, folks who are people of color, women, non-Christians, city dwellers, or educated. When only Joe Six Pack becomes the target audience for political commercials, tax cuts, legislation, and economic incentives, we ignore the fact that most of this nation does not fit this profile. And finally, we ignore the fact that despite the rhetoric, none of our current political candidates currently fit the Joe Six Pack mode, although some of them have come from humble beginnings. When Sarah Palin indicated that her retirement portfolio lost $20,000 in one week (which means there was much more in there to begin with), she lost her street credentials as a Joe Six Pack wife.

And Melissa Harris-Lacewell never disappoints, discussing what it means when people talk about “real Americans” in her post “Citizen Melissa:”

Barack does not look into the camera and decry racism because we are not really Americans. We are not allowed to express our political needs or tell our political histories because when we do it makes other people feel uncomfortable. African Americans are still supposed to be grateful for being saved from the “savagery of Africa,” civilized by the cross, offered the crumbs of capitalism, and given the chance to die for the flag. Our sacrifices and our suffering are still elective courses, not required reading. Barack does not talk to Melissa the professor because if he did he would be labeled a special interest politician, even though worrying about Joe the Plumber is somehow universal. Barack does not mention that he is under special attack because of his race because silence about America’s racial legacy is the price of admission to the social contract.

Also not to be missed is Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s discussion of Colin Powell’s status as a popular black Republican – which reminds me that we have a long overdue conversation about conservatives of color to open on this site.

Powell’s conservatism appears to be more about an authentic commitment to certain ideals and less about personal profit. Powell’s heritage is West Indian and his professional life is rooted in the US military. This makes his attachment to certain conservative institutions and ideas unsurprising. Most recently, Powell’s sense of duty, honor, and commitment to the chain-of-command has not personally benefited and aggrandized him, as it has cost him tremendously. His willingness to make the US case for the War in Iraq is a terrible blemish on his professional record, but he did it out of commitment to his post. I disagree with Powell on dozens of issues and I believe he should have resigned rather than drag his nation into this unholy conflict, but I can also understand the place where he stood and the choices he made. African Americans do not require conformity of thought, we simply expect that public persons are driven by some ideal higher than putting Rupert Murdoch’s FOXNews cash in their pockets. That is why we managed to like Colin even as we disagreed with him.

The Politico digs a little deeper into the “Racists for Obama” trend:

“What you see is it’s perfectly possible to hold a negative view of at least one aspect of African-Americans and yet simultaneously prefer Obama,” said Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Racial feelings are not as cut and dried — not as black and white — as people often say.”

Parvez Sharma blogs at the Huffington Post on “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being:”

My politics remain constrained. I even thoughtfully consulted my immigration lawyer before I wrote this. I cannot go and work for the Obama campaign as many of my US citizen friends seem to be doing this Fall, she said. Just last night, I watched Lou Dobbs spit out “alien” with anger and venom once again, and realized that, as I wait for my green card to arrive by next year, I cannot really hope to participate in the political process. The arrival of that card, however, will move me only one meager step up on that ladder to being a “resident alien.” The passport would still be many years away and I wonder, if Iran and America become increasingly indistinguishable, would I want one? As Sarah Palin, the newest spokesperson for “feminism” smoothly delivers yet another prepared (and repetitive) text, I shudder to think what may become of this nation. One commentator on the networks during the RNC even dared to say that the sheer numbers of mostly Caucasians in the room made her deeply uncomfortable.

A young Muslim-American friend calls. We talk about — what else — the election I cannot participate in. He says he is as American as anybody else (and I know that because he grew up in suburban, out-in-the-boonies Texas) but is worried if he went out and openly campaigned for Obama, he would damage Obama’s prospects with White voters. He has many “hockey moms” in his neighborhood and really and urgently wants to talk to them. He reminds me that just a few months ago women wearing the Hijab were barred from appearing in the same camera shot with Obama. I remember that. He also repeats the comments overheard at his workplace on the sexual appeal of the female candidate and especially her ‘legs’. Clearly Palin is not part of the “sisterhood of travelling pantsuits”.

The Women and Hollywood blog asks a provocative question – Will The Secret Life of Bees Suffer the Bradley Effect?

Hollywood does advance tracking of its films just like political campaigns do exit polls. The Secret Life of Bees opens tomorrow and the LA Times raised the question of whether white moviegoers (i.e white women) will see the movie even if they told the trackers that they were interested.

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